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Downtime and misc stuff

Saturday, March 31, 2007
Time: 6:49 PM

I'm going to spend some time upgrading my computers and watching the Final Four. This week has been hectic and I need some downtime before I come back and take the gloves off.

I'll be back probably sometime tomorrow (actually, Monday is more realistic since tomorrow is Palm Sunday) but in the meantime, I encourage you to check out Ivon Alcime's newly designed website. Last night, I helped Ivon in re-tooling his website for his cable access show "Ideas at Work and Beyond" and I must say that it looks pretty damn good. You can watch all his previous shows online and his last show featured Democratic mayoral candidate Helena Abrantes and former Mayor Gene Eriquez. Lets just say, it's worth checking out.

Go Georgetown!

MediaNews Group buys News-Times

Friday, March 30, 2007
Time: 7:15 PM

I wonder if this means that I won't be able to buy a copy of the Connecticut Post at McDonald's for 25 cents anymore.
MediaNews Group, parent corporation of the Connecticut Post, will take over ownership of The News-Times and The New Milford Spectrum on Saturday.

[...]

The Colorado-based company owns eight newspapers or magazines in Connecticut, including the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport and Brooks Community Newspapers in lower Fairfield County. Singleton would not disclose the sale price of The News-Times.

Alabama-based Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. bought The News-Times in December after Dow Jones & Company announced Aug. 28 it was looking at selling or swapping up to six newspapers from its Ottaway division.
What does this mean for the staff at the News-Times?

Will the online edition of the paper get a make-over?

Will this mean more coverage of local news?

Will this mean more hard-news on local government issues?

Only time will tell.

Special comment and a change in the way things are done


Time: 2:02 PM

Since I now have the keys in my hand, I can finally make that special comment.

It's with great pleasure that I announce that I'm the proud new owner of the largest progressive blog in Connecticut, My Left Nutmeg (MLN).



With an average of 1,500-2,000 readers per day, My Left Nutmeg is a highly respected community blog where progressives ranging from your average everyday people, to elected officials, are able write posts and be part of the ongoing political discussion. Think of My Left Nutmeg as the state's version of DailyKos or MyDD (both sites have MLN as part of their blogroll).

What does this mean for ConnecticutBLOG: As I'll be concentrating a majority of my writings to MLN, ConnecticutBLOG will be going through a bit of a change. Since a majority of posts on ConnecticutBLOG consist of video posts, I'm think the best thing to do with the site is to move it from it's present form, to more of a progressive video site (such as crooks and liars). Now, this doesn't mean I going to stop writing on ConnecticutBLOG, it's just that I want to move the site to more of a video format (which I think is the future of blogging).

What does this mean for HatCityBLOG: Well, in short...nothing. If anything, with the backing of My Left Nutmeg and ConnecticutBLOG, the viewer-ship of posts on this site will jump from 150-200 per day to well over 2,000 per day (in the form of crossposts), which will result in more people across the state having a better understanding about what's happening in Hat City (you'd be amazed in how little people know about Danbury). Knowledge is power and ignorance begets monsters so hopefully this merger will result in people across the state (and nation) getting information that you simply don't get from the mainstream media.

I'm very, very excited about this change and I encourage everyone to come over to My Left Nutmeg and join in the state's progressive conversation. Trust me, the MLN community will do the same in return and things will never be the same again.

Wilton's "Voices in Conflict" student actors receive award

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Time: 7:30 PM

Look what I received int he email today!
We wanted to let you know that Music Theatre International, the Broadway musical licensing agency, has now voiced its support for the students, as well. MTI was founded by Frank Loesser ("How To Succeed in Business," "Guys & Dolls") to continue the legacy of the Broadway musical.

Over the years, the company expanded and formed "Broadway Junior," which provides special school versions of shows from "Annie" to "Schoolhouse Rock" to "Les Miserables" for students. Part of the program is to educate (learning about the Depression, for example in "Annie," ways to count in "Schoolhouse Rock" or the French Revolution in "Les Miserables"), and part is to encourage students to get involved in the arts.

They certainly don't license anything like "Voices in Conflict," but they are stepping out of the 54-year tradition and creating its first "Courage in Theatre" award for this "non-performance." This company often hands out awards for singing, dancing, directing, stage design, costumes or music. "Courage" is a first, though,
just for the students at Wilton High School.

"MTI's very first COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD…goes to the members of the advanced theater class…not for a performance or a production, but rather in recognition of your actions in having collaborated in the creation of a stage piece on a sensitive but germane subject titled: VOICES IN CONFLICT."

Attached is a copy of the letter being delivered to the students to salute their achievements. A plaque is also being designed for the students.

Wilton High School probably won't be the last to face these challenges as the war progresses. Music Theatre International is proud to be part of the theatre community that these students have honored.
Here's a copy of the letter being sent to the students.
Music Theatre International
421 West 54th Street, Second Floor
New York, New York 10019
(212) 541-4684 FAX: (212) 397-4684
Freddie Gershon
Chairman

March 28, 2007

To: The Advanced Theatre Students of Wilton High School,

Congratulations to each of you!

MTI has determined that you collectively and individually receive the MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD. This is the first such award in the 54 year history of Music Theatre International.

MTI was founded by Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway Composer/Lyricist
FRANK LOESSER in whose honor we have established this award. Frank believed that High School productions keep theater alive in America serving to enlighten, educate as well as entertain. Although Mr. Loesser's musicals were not about war (GUYS &DOLLS, THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS and others) he and his colleagues in the Broadway community and the company he created to serve the schools of America with theater materials, would be proud of your class's approach to theatre as well as your passion and commitment to the production which you created.

Schools and Theater Departments with outstanding performances or those demonstrating adventuresome spirit, inventiveness and daring through their stage productions have been recognized in different ways by MTI in the past.
However, we are aware that theater is not just about acting, singing, dancing and excelling in performance. It is also about positive risk taking for students, working as a community and utilizing theatre skills, to present points of view on the stage which comment on the world in which we live. In doing so, they provoke discussion, engage an audience and stimulate their colleagues/fellow students/and the audience to reflect on what they saw and heard long after they have left the theater. That, in turn, should result in healthy dialogue of differing points of view.

WILTON HIGH SCHOOL's advanced theater students' "non-performance" of their original theater piece is unique in our experience of licensing over 500,000 high school performances in the last two decades and deserving of special recognition.

MTI's very first COURAGE IN THEATER AWARD therefore goes to the members of the advanced theater class…not for a performance or a production, but rather in recognition of your actions in having collaborated in the creation of a stage piece on a sensitive but germane subject titled: VOICES IN CONFLICT.

Music Theatre International congratulates each of you.
Congrats...you guys deserve it and so much more.

The pro-war "enlightened" harrassing theatre students at Wilton High


Time: 6:47 PM

Blogger Saramerica just posted this entry at My Left Nutmeg and lets just say that the nonsense happening in Wilton is downright disgusting.
Last night I spoke with Bonnie Dickinson, the teacher who created the "Voices in Conflict" project at Wilton High. All I can say is it's too bad there aren't more teachers out there with this woman's creativity and courage.

She's put her job on the line in the defense of intellectual freedom - as she said to me last night, "When this all blows over and people stop writing me 40 e-mails a day offering their support, I'm still going to be at this school teaching."

I can't imagine it will be such a great atmosphere for her either. I met with four of the students from Ms. Dickinson's class today, and these kids are being seriously hassled in the hallways of enlightened Wilton High. They're being called "faggots" and told that they should be "hanged for treason" and have been brainwashed by their "liberal pig parents". Ms. Dickinson is being referred to as a FemNazi.
Boy, the wingnuts in Wilton are really a class act (wouldn't Sean Hannity be proud). I hope each one of these jerks who are spewing this crap have the guts to proudly walk over to the Army recruiting center RIGHT AFTER GRADUATION...maybe military can teach these morons a thing or two about respect.

Blogger Saramerica also provides the origins of the whole dust-up and let's just say that we're not surprised.
What it all boils down to is that Principal Canty caved into pressure from ONE parent of ONE student. According to Ms. Dickinson, Barbara Alessi got wind of the script and said that she wanted her daughter Gabby to take the class and not only that, they would be able to provide material for the script because her son, 2nd Lt. Zach Alessi-Friedlander is currently serving in Iraq.

Unfortunately it appears that Mrs Alessi was inserting Gabby as a mole, rather than to actually attempt to contributing toward the production in a meaningful way. After a few days Gabby dropped out of the class and Mrs. Alessi was pressuring Principal Canty to silence the production.

What's supremely ironic about this is that Gabby Alessi-Friedlander is self-righteously spouting on the news outlets how the play is "insulting" to currently serving troops. But meanwhile, Gabby's brother, 2nd Lt. Zach Alessi Friedlander, wrote the following in an article about how his unit was helping two Iraqi schools that was published in the Fort Drum Blizzard last October:
"Quality education teaches students how to think critically about their own lives and illuminates the variety of opportunities available only to those with the necessary academic training."
Absolutely unbelievable. Principal Canty whimps out and censors who student based on ONE complaint from ONE parent who's now going from news outlet to news outlet spouting about how this play is a slap in the face to the military (although the play is BASED ON LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS IN IRAQ).

Is this America? Does free-speech matter?

Well, Saramerica was able to contact Paul Reickhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to see if we would talk to the students in Wilton as well as do a write-up on the situation (which he has agreed to do).

For those who don't know Reickhoff, here's an interview he did recently on Keith Olbermann's Countdown.

Reickhoff blogged about the situation in Wilton for the HuffingtonPost.
Even after four years of war, the lives of most Americans have gone on unchanged. Most people have never met an Iraq veteran, and far too few have had the chance to ask one of them what it was like to serve in a war zone.

At Wilton High School in Connecticut, students decided to try and bridge this gap between the troops and the public.

Using first-hand accounts from troops in Iraq, they created a series of monologues to perform as the school's spring play. But the school principal Timothy H. Canty feared the script's political implications and chose to shut the play down before it was ever performed. This decision was an insult to the students at Wilton High and to all veterans of the war in Iraq.

Principal Canty should allow the show to go on. He should also apologize to Iraq veterans nationwide. He has chosen to squash his students' freedom of speech--one of the very rights vets like me joined the military to defend.

As Tim O'Brien said in his classic novel about Vietnam, The Things They Carried, ''If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.''

The truth is sometimes vulgar--especially the truth about war. And any real discussion of the situation in Iraq is going to be controversial. The stories of troops coming home from war will not be pretty or pure, and will rarely be black-and-white enough to align with extremists of any political persuasion. But however ugly and uncomfortable, it is our duty as Americans to understand the truth about the war in Iraq.

...
Saramerica will have a full write up on her experience with the kids at Wilton High, which will be published in the Greenwich Time. I for one can't wait to read it.

Is Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi using coke again?


Time: 11:07 AM

(A bit off local topic but this assclown deserves as much attention as possible. A crosspost from ConnecticutBLOG).

That's the only conclusion I can come up with when I read this.
Before a standing-room-only crowd, Mayor John M. Fabrizi on Tuesday appealed to a judge to be lenient on a 22-year-old man who was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl and getting her pregnant — twice.

The mayor admitted as he stood before Superior Court Judge Patrick Carroll that he was taking a real risk speaking on behalf of Juan Carlos Camacho.

But then he continued: "Since I've known him for the past two years, he's been extremely respectful in my house."

He added to snickers from spectators in the courtroom: "I've never seen him under the influence of alcohol or drugs."
Please tell me some Democrat is challenging this assclown for mayor. Two words: Primary challenge.

UPDATE: Dumb-dumb is now sorry. I guess the outrage from the public woke brought him out of his cocaine high and back to reality.
"I realize with 20-20 hindsight my appearance before the court [Tuesday] was completely inappropriate and gave the wrong impression," Fabrizi said in a statement issued Wednesday. "I should never have agreed to be a character witness for my son's friend given the serious charges he pleaded guilty to.
This pathetic "I'm sorry" statement comes too little and too late for that poor girl's family who had to watch Fabrizi defend a monster. I mean, GOOD LORD...this guy is THE MAYOR?!?

...well, on second thought, we are talking about Bridgeport.

Lieberman more concerned with seating charts than accountability


Time: 10:59 AM

As this idiotic war continues with no end in sight, our junior senator is more interested in rearringing seating charts than holding the President accountable (whether it's the war, hurricane Katrina, torture, warentless wiretapping, etc).


The people of Connecticut are fed up with Joementum and this editorial from today's Danbury News-Times tells the story.

Since winning re-election to the U.S. Senate in November, Joseph Lieberman has had trouble putting the 2006 election behind him.


He's been public about his anger with some Democratic senators who didn't support his candidacy as an independent, after he lost last summer's Democratic primary.


He's been public about how uncomfortable he is when he has to listen to Democrats who, unlike him, oppose the war in Iraq.


He's been public about his thoughts of becoming a Republican, a step that would give Republicans majority control of the Senate.


He's been public about how he doesn't really plan to turn Republican, since he doesn't agree with them about much more than the war in Iraq.


The Lieberman hand-wringing might be interesting to him, but even his strongest supporters must be wondering when the senator will move beyond the 2006 election.


So it was interesting this week to hear that Lieberman had proposed a war tax to fund, as he said, the war on terrorism as well as health care for military personnel and veterans.


"Every American has a responsibility to share in the burden that our soldiers are now carrying in defense of our freedom " and that means paying the costs of this war more adequately and equitably than we are today," he said.


Lieberman's right that soldiers are carrying the burden. But is this a serious proposal? No. Lieberman said he doesn't plan to seek a vote on the idea.


Even those who didn't vote for Lieberman in November have higher expectations for him than this. Pouting about the last election? Proposing a war tax without any plans to pursue it?


Then there's his fixation with seating charts.


As chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Lieberman should be focusing on the many security issues facing the nation. But this month, the big news from the committee was that Lieberman had rearranged the seating chart.


From now on, he announced, the senators will sit Democrat, Republican, Democrat, Republican, instead of one party on one side of the room and the other party on the other side.


[...]


Instead of focussing on seating charts, instead of proposing a war tax that's dead on arrival, instead of reveling in his hurt feelings, Lieberman should do what he said he would do while running for re-election last year " focus on representing Connecticut, focus on holding the Bush administration accountable for its war policies.



Hey, don't look at me, I voted for this guy...

Wilton High School free speech scandal gains more media coverage

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Time: 3:07 PM

Scarce at My Left Nutmeg has been on a tear grabbing news reports on the situation at Wilton High School. Here's the latest from CNN.
Scarce takes the gloves off and rips into critics of the play as well as one shameless Congressman from the forth district. Read what he has to say over at MLN.

Also, make sure to sign the student's guestbook over at their site.

Common Council flashback: Sex offender ordinance debate

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Time: 2:16 PM

(Hello to those who are at this site for the first time. Due to overwhelming interest I received regarding the sex offender ordinance, this post has been bumped to the top. Originally posted March 9 2007).

While I'm getting ready for tonight's meeting(s) at City Hall, I wanted to fulfill a recent request from several readers who wanted to see the sex offender ordinance debate from December.

Many people I talked to after the meetings were left with the impression that the proposal was rushed to a vote without any regards to addressing several legitimate issues Democrats brought to the council's attention. Now that's not to say that Democrats don't care about kids, but rather the opposite since it was the Democrats who attempted several times fix various problems with the proposal, which makes the ordinance as a whole rather weak.

Here's an example:

Several attempts by Democrats to offer amendments, which would have addressed several problems with the proposal, were dismissed by the Republican majority at the ad-hoc committee (which was noted by 5th Ward Council member Duane Perkins). During the Common Council meeting, in an attempt re-visit several problems with the ordinance, Tom Saadi offered an amendment to fix one of the various loopholes in the ordinance (note the portion in bold):
Mr. Saadi moved to amend the main motion to change the language in Section (3) Enforcement Procedure, that reads “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in the same Child Safety Zone....” to “If the person refuses to leave or is later found to be in “a” or “any” Child Safety Zone....”. Seconded by Mr. Chianese. Mr. Saadi stated that the current language would allow offenders to “zone hop”.
Zone Hop basically means the following. As the ordinance is written, if a sex offender is in a Child Safety Zone, the police will give one warning; if that person is caught in the same Child Safety Zone a second time, then he'll gets a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, under the current language, the offender is only slapped on the wrist if he's found in the same Saftey Zone two times.

Seems silly (a.k.a. a loophole)

Saadi's amendment would have changes the language in such a way so if a sex offender is found in ANY child Safety zone a second time, he'd get a slap on the wrist by the police. In other words, if an offender is in a Child Safety Zone, he'll be in violation of the ordinance and be fined if he's found in ANY Safety Zone as opposed to the same Safety Zone.

Republican At-Large Council member Mary Saracino joined the Democrats in approving the amendment but once again the Republican-majority rejected a Democratic-sponsored amendment in an effort to rush the entire proposal though the process. In the video, you'll notice the frustration among many Democrats (most notably Duane Perkins and Ben Chianese) who wanted to pass the ordinance free of any loopholes that allows any offender to get around the ordinance.

In the end, all but one council member approved the ordinance and in conversations with several Democrats who approved the ordinance, they plan to address several of the loopholes in the ordinance in the future. If one is concerned about the welfare of children, then every step should be taken by the common council to fix the loopholes so this ordinance has the real enforcement capability it needs.

Many critics of the mayor called this proposal nothing more than an election-year gimmick along with the 311 system, the new concern over open space and over development, and the mayor's sudden "flip-flop" on broadcasting local government meetings. In any case, here's the requested video.


Wilton High Shcool free-speech scandal (finally) gaining local media attention


Time: 11:16 AM

What took the local media so long?

Form FOX61:

News 12:

Please show your support and sign the student's guestbook.

(Hat tip to Scarce for saving me the time).

UPDATE: Due to legal advice, the students removed the original and revised scripts from their site.

Judiciary Committee live blogging at MLN

Monday, March 26, 2007
Time: 2:09 PM

Today is an important day for those individuals fighting for same-sex marriage rights. Today at the State Capitol the Judiciary Committee is currently holding a public hearing where several people are testifying in support or opposition towards H.B. (House Bill) 7395: An Act Concerning Marriage Equality and S.B (Senate Bill) 1449: An Act concerning the recognition of legal unions from other states and jurisdictions.
Here's a basic run-down of H.B. 7395:
HB: 7395 would authorize persons of the same sex to enter into marriage. It removes the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman and redefines marriage as the legal union of two persons

As you could imagine, there are many people across the state who are keeping a close eye on this bill and there are hundreds of people watching the hearing at the State Capitol right now (the public has spilled over to three other overflow rooms). I think it's safe to assume that this hearing will be the lead story on the local news tonight.

For those who are not by a television, you can watch the public hearing online at CT-N. You can also read the rough transcript of today's proceedings at the live blog open thread at My Left Nutmeg.

I'll provide video highlights of today's testimony later this evening.

FYI: State Senator David Cappiello is on the Judiciary Committee.

UPDATE: The blogoshpere is burning up over this hearing right now and a new open thread needed to be created on MLN due to the high volume of comments. I'm still in the process of posting highlights from today's hearing and I'll have everything posted on MLN later tonight. Here's testimony from State Senator Edith Prague (D-19th Dist.) offering her support for same sex marriage. She also responsed to a series of questions raised by people on the committee including State Senator Cappiello.

UPDATE 2: Today's testimony at the Judiciary has been incredible. Sorry for the lack of posts but I've been very busy at MLN providing video highlights of the entire meeting for the online community. Due to the high traffic, a third open thread was created to deal with everything.


Updates


Time: 10:53 AM

The hard drive problem is almost finished so we can get back to posting videos of past meetings at City Hall. Postings on the site will be a bit light as I clean up the code (again) and fix a few errors that came to my attention.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me and pointed out display problems with the site. I'm looking into the problem and hopefully things will be fixed by the end of the day.

Is the News-Times promoting hate-speech?

Sunday, March 25, 2007
Time: 8:19 PM

(Post bumped to the top for obvious reasons)

Check this comment out from the News-Times article "Sex offender letter ready for Danbury parents"

Posted by: boughton58 Sun, Mar 25 2007
They should also insert a side note warning how the city can't keep the spics out. These animals care about following laws about as much as sex offenders.
Offended by the comment, this reader post the following complaint.
Posted by: ALC Sun, Mar 25 2007
Newstimes,
You seriously need to somehow block this boughton58, or boughton85 from ever posting again. I'm amazed of how much hatred gets displayed on this website. It's borderline scary. Please i'm asking you delete this idiot.
Boughton58 isn't the first jackass to post this type of hate-speech crap on the site and probably won't be the last as the News-Times website is a favorite among the xenophobes who cruise anti-immigration forums across the Internet.

This is also par-for-the-course when it comes to the language used against the immigrant community in Danbury by those who should be considered the bottom of the food-chain (trust me, I'm not as surprised as many who are not from the area who are reading this garbage for the first time).

As the major newspaper is Danbury, the News-Times has an obligation to filter this type of crap from their site and terminate xenophobes like Boughton58 or just get rid of the comment section all together and go back to the old format where the keyboarding brigade who make up for 90 percent of the posts in the comment section are forced to take their rants back to the forums.

Hopefully, Elizabeth Putman will put the axe to Boughton58 and the other jerks who post hate-speech and give Danbury a bad name.

UPDATEBoughton58 takes his hate to a new level.

Posted by: boughton58 Sun, Mar 25 2007
Don't change the subject ALC. Danbury is infested with mongoloid half-niggers.


Contact The Danbury News-Times and ask them why condone/allow hate-speech on their site.

News & Editorial (203) 744-5100: editor@newstimes.com

Elizabeth Putnam: Online Editor (203) 731-3411: eputnam@newstimes.com

Dan Wheeler Internet Director (203) 731-3408: danw@newstimes.com

UPDATE: 10:15 A.M The News-Times got the message and the offensive remarks were finally deleted. The underlying problem is that unfortunately, Boughton58 is symbolic of most bigots in the area who express their true feelings behind closed doors (or under the cloak of a screenname). Hopefully, the newspaper will take the necessary steps to filter out offensive language and terminate accounts like Boughton58. If not, then the comments section should be scraped all together and the paper should return to the old "forums" format like other papers in the state.

Minuteman project morons served with court papers; when will the local anti-immigrant groups get the same treatment?


Time: 7:46 PM

Oh, this was only a matter of time. With the seperation between the Minuteman Project and such hate-filled groups such as The Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control and U.S. Citizens for Immigration Law Enforcement closer than Kevin Bacon is to Footloose, it's only a matter of time before the same thing happens to our local xenophobic whack-packers.

Man Eegee has the details.
I can't help but smile. There's a lot going on with the vigilantes this week. Their multi-faceted leadership spat is being battled out in the courts, along with some concrete action by law enforcement to ferret out the ways these nativist movements are fertile ground for hate crimes and human rights violations.
San Diego Police served the leader of the San Diego Minutemen, Jeff Schwilk, and another prominent member of the group with search warrants on Wednesday. The warrants were granted in connection with vandalism at a Rancho Penasquitos migrant camp. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.
Last January, six people sliced up migrant workers’ belongings in the camps. Police say the vandals cut up blankets, clothes and even workers' shoes.
Link.
It's important to understand the context of this investigation. The Minutemen are actually two separate groups that underwent a schism between founder Jim Gilchrist and prominent leader Chris Simcox. This formed the Minutemen Project and Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.

Now, here's what Simcox has to say about the founder of the Binocular Brigade and the reason for the separation
(A)fter two weeks of the Project, Jim had created a situation where people were running around crazy at the Bible College. It was to be a campus where volunteers stayed while participating. It was one of three sites I had selected. The Bible College soon turned into an armed compound with snipers on the roof and a cult of Gilchrist followers who were violating the SOP (standard operating procedure) at every turn.

It was time to clean it up. I contacted the county sheriff' department and the FBI, and decided to go in and take over management of the Bible College. The entire supervisory team backed me up and we removed Jim from authority, sent a bunch of people packing, and regained control of the Bible College.

Jim was ... just lapping up the media, that's all he cared about. He lost control, and control was taken away from him. We had no choice because the future of the movement was hanging in the balance.
Link.

All of this brouhaha was occurring in the wake of an unsuccessful bid for congress by Gilchrist. Simcox had some thoughts on that too:
I packed up my family and lived in OC for 42 days helping him right the ship of the campaign after it imploded. People were fired and quit. The campaign was in shambles, and I was asked to come in and help organize and right the ship.

I still had influence over Jim in that I know how to calm him and keep him focused. When I arrived at the campaign office, I realized he was too far gone and that (Stephen) Eichler and (Deborah Ann) Courtney had also figured out how he worked. They had him in the palm of their hands. They stroked him continuously with, "You are the greatest!" and "You are THE Jim Gilchrest!" They created a sense in him that he was a legend.
Link.

So, what's this trial all about? I know you'll be shocked, but it's money.
Coe and two other directors of the Minuteman Project tossed founder Gilchrist out of his official post in a January mutiny and took control of the organization's primary bank account. Gilchrist then sued the trio, saying they lacked the authority to take over.

On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge will consider Gilchrist's argument that the group and its assets should be returned to him. But restoring the movement's momentum is another issue altogether, as bickering over financial accountability has tarnished the effort's public image.

"It's more damaging than anything (opponents) could do," Gilchrist said. "Not just for our organization, but for the movement across the nation. It's not mortally damaging, but it's going to be seriously damaging for a year or so."
Link.

Allow me to a light a candle hoping so.

Now what about these search warrants? You may recall back in January, this incident was (marginally) reported. Of course, Indymedia was all over it.
More than a half dozen migrant camps in the Rancho Penasquitos area have been vandalized in the past week, leaving many of the camps’ residents without clothing, blankets, or shelter.

In all cases, intruders entered the camps while the migrants were away and used knives or scissors to slash tents, tarps, and bicycle tires, slit open sleeping bags, and cut up blankets, shoes, and clothing. Many of the damaged items were new, some with the tags still attached (see accompanying video).

The camps’ residents who were interviewed asked not to be identified, but one said that even his pencils had been broken in half. He said he “just can’t fathom the hearts and minds of people who would do something like this.”

Eyewitness tips led to the search warrants being executed this week against the SD Minutemen leader Jeff Schwilk and one of their members, Christie Czajkowski.
Oh, but the hits keep coming. Another minuteman is also in deep crap.
A local Minuteman leader whose home was searched by San Diego police Wednesday has now been sued for defamation, along with an associate.
[snip]

The suit, which includes a Web posting and e-mails allegedly written by the defendants, says that Schwilk and Carney repeatedly referred to Yoon in e-mails and on the Web in vulgar terms.

Neither Schwilk nor Carney could be reached for comment yesterday.

In the lawsuit, one Web posting attributed to them shows a photo of Yoon surrounded by day laborers, with the text insinuating that she is a prostitute: “She really is popular or very inexpensive. (Hey Joe . . . Five Dolla-Five Dolla),” the text reads.

Yoon is Korean-American.
If the police can go after these jerks on the west coast, why can't the Danbury Police Department look investigate people who spread rumors about individuals who want to firebomb the Hispanic Center? It's not like the local xenophobes don't have a history of violence in the area with one high-profile member of Elise Marciano's group assulting two Latinos at Pippa's while other members of the group mocked and harrassed a Latino employee at TK's?

...and this is the stuff that I 1.) saw with my own eyes and/or 2.) heard from just about everyone who witnessed the insanity.

Like I said, it's only a matter of time...

(MAJOR TIP to the local drunk for posting this information).

Wilton High School free speech scandal hits the networks


Time: 4:07 PM

I don't think Principal Canty ever imagine his idiotic decision to censor students rights to free speech would generate all this media attention.

From this morning's Good Morning America.

In a small Connecticut town, a big controversy erupted when a principal canceled a play written by high school students about the war in Iraq.

Theatre students at Wilton High School in Wilton, Conn., fear they'll never perform their play "Voices in Conflict," which they developed from first-person stories of soldiers serving in Iraq.

"We thought it would be a good way to inform students in an unbiased way what was going on with the war and open their eyes," Wilton senior Afton Fleming told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition.

Senior Seth Koproski said the play is not about politics.

"We didn't want to spew propaganda," Koproski said. "We wanted to create a discussion."
Show your support and sign the student's guestbook.

Major tip to the great Scarce for the clip

Traitiors don't get the question my patriotism


Time: 1:49 PM

Again Bill Maher nails it.

A bit off topic locally but the message is important.

(Note: adult language)

Wilton High School free speech scandal gaining attention


Time: 12:59 PM

Since the release of the New York Times article regarding the recent nonsense at Wilton High School, the story of Principal Timothy H. Canty's unwise decision to cancel the student's original production about the war in Iraq has picked up attention on blogs across the state and country.

The latest blog to comment on Principal Canty's insanity is the popular Firedoglake.
There's a very good account in this article of all the ways the kids tried to amend the play's content to make it acceptable to the Lieberman voters who killed the production (I'm sure you're all shocked to learn Lieberman won Wilton handily last November). Well worth a read.

Seems some people in Wilton are okay about their kids being old enough to be on the speed dial lists of any local military recruiters, but the same kids can't write and stage a play made up of reflections drawn wholly from the writings of young men and women fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. They want these kids to STFU. I'm totally with the kids on this one.

I bring all this up for a couple of reasons. First, I want the adults in Wilton who shut down this play to recognize they've just given these kids a much wider audience, as this story takes off in MySpace, Facebook, the New York Times, My Left Nutmeg and now Firedoglake. Oops. The local word now is some community activists may be helping the kids stage the play outside of the school.

Second, I figure, sooner or later, some of these kids might find this blog post and check out this site. To them, I want to say, welcome! Glad you're here. We're not here to shut you up. Quite the opposite.

Stop by our comment section and introduce yourselves. We talk a lot about politics here and stand up for the voices of the very troops you quote in your play, but we also have a lot of fun and use bad words like fuck.

We've been speaking truth to power around here for a while, and we've gotten pretty good at it. Still, I'm sure there's a lot we can learn from you, so we'd love to hear from you.

That goes not just for people at Wilton High, but to any teenagers, young adults or college students who are curious about what's going on in this country and who maybe want to do a little something to make things different, even if it just means being informed. Hell, some of you know as much or more than we do.

I don't expect many of you Wilton High kids will make it here tonight, since I'm sure you're all out having fun doing things your parents approve of. But anyway, this thread is for the next generation: come say hello, call us names, ask us what we're about, it doesn't matter. We're not the crabby adult types who think the world is going to hell and you're leading the way.
Feeling the heat, Wilton School Superintendent Dr. Gary Richards issued this statement.
he Wilton Public Schools administration would like to respond to the issues raised in The New York Times article entitled "Play About Iraq War Divides a Connecticut School" that appeared in the "Metro Section" on Saturday, March 24, 2007. The article describes the controversy in the WHS Advanced Theater Arts class about a play called "Voices in Conflict" compiled by students for performance during this spring semester. The play contains monologues about the Iraq war by U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens. The article describes the work of the Theater Arts class to develop the play, Principal Tim Canty's decision and rationale for stopping the performance of the play at this time, and the resulting critical reactions by some students and parents.

This is a sensitive situation for a school community because of the complex issues and strong feelings involved. We also see it as an opportunity to extend the educational dialogue. With that goal in mind, we will summarize how we got to this point, our concerns about the performance of the play as written and our plans for next steps.

All school programs need to serve a legitimate educational purpose. The Iraq war, of course, is an important, serious, complex, and critical topic for a high school to address. In recent years, we have addressed the war in many ways including debates by experts, panel discussions, Social Studies courses and units, class discussions, etc. When the Theater Arts teacher first broached the idea of a play honoring soldiers in Iraq, we supported exploring it with the understanding that there would be on-going communication between the teacher and administration. However, after seeing subsequent drafts, we have serious concerns. The play has contained direct excerpts from a book, documentary films, letters to newspapers, and web-sites. These sources are modified and "cut and pasted" together in a way that does not give them attribution nor cite the viewpoint of the particular author or filmmaker. The script contains language that, while realistic, is graphic and violent. In addition, the format includes the student performers directly acting the part of the soldiers, rather than appearing as readers of their journals, letters, interviews, etc. In our view, this approach turns powerful material into a dramatic format that borders on being sensational and inappropriate.
Yeah, right...whatever. You be the judge by reading the original and edited script from a site the students created here.

Currently, people are brainstorming on ways to support the students. Make sure you go to the student's site and sign their guestbook as a show of support for their cause.

Another swipe at the dead horse...


Time: 11:23 AM

Okay, lets do this again for those not keeping score.

In regards to the city's early budget proposal, remember this post.
As for the budget, presentations sound great but as with anything, the proof is in th details. Democratic minority leader Tom Saadi was quick to touch on this point last night.

Democratic caucus leader Tom Saadi said he and fellow Democrats will evaluate the budget in detail over the next month, but he fears the final numbers will change if the Gov. M. Jodi Rell's proposed budget is not passed.

"This budget relies on the governor's funds. While that reliance may be 80 or 90 percent right, we are going to have to make up the difference," Saadi said.

...and remember this post.
The Senate Democrats called for a wholesale rewriting of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's $17.5 billion budget proposal Wednesday, saying they oppose virtually all of her tax proposals and significant parts of her spending plan.

Following their first detailed caucus since Rell announced her proposal last month, the Democrats emerged Wednesday afternoon to say that closer scrutiny of the governor's budget has revealed a series of flaws.

"It turns out that there's a lot less than what meets the eye," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, the highest-ranking senator. "This is going to be a very difficult budget year. ... This budget has a lot of flaws that did not reveal themselves immediately."

Standing next to Williams at a press conference at the state Capitol, the co-chairwoman of the legislature's tax-writing committee, Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, said Rell's tax plans are "a real gut-punch to the middle class and to the poor."

The Democrats "just couldn't sanction" Rell's 10 percent, across-the-board increase in the state income tax, the repeal of the estate tax, and the phase-out of the popular $500 property tax credit, Daily said. She also cited opposition to the elimination of the personal property tax on cars, and using annual revenues from the casinos to help pay for the car-tax elimination.



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...and do you recall the video post that featured Democrat State Rep Bob Godfrey and Republican State Senator David Cappiello's comment regarding the city budget (hint: the term "irresponsible" and "folly" were used)?









Do you recall these remarks?
Leaders said while they are receiving more state education money, they are losing a combined $60 million in other areas, such as aid for road improvements, that results in a loss of funding for many towns and cities.

[...]

State Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, a ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said he was concerned state residents could "get the shaft" by facing both a higher income tax -- an increase to 5.5 percent is proposed in the governor's budget -- and higher property taxes.

He noted that while Newtown would pay an additional $6.1 million to the state in income taxes, the town is facing an overall reduction in state funding. About 142 municipalities in the state are in a similar predicament, he said.

"The majority of towns will pay more in income tax than they will be getting back in education funding," Cappiello said. "How is that fair, when cities like Bridgeport get $80 million in additional education funding with little accountability of how that money is spent?"

[...]

Some committee members were concerned that municipal leaders are including the proposed increase in state aid in their local budgets, while assuming the cuts in other areas will be restored later in the legislative session.

"It's a bit unwise to rely on the governor's numbers this year," said state Sen. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. "It has a very uneven increased distribution. There is still a long way to go before the budget is completed."
Recall these words from Newtown's First Selectman Herb Rosenthal...
Rosenthal said that municipalities have difficulties in developing their budgets and estimating state aid, because the local budgets are completed months before the state budget is approved.
Well, it's time to add this to the ever growing list. There are more warning signs about Gov. Rell's budget that will have direct impact on the city's early proposed budget.

Two words: HIDDEN COSTS.
It all sounded so good on Feb. 7.

But then state lawmakers and town officials started to read the fine print in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's landmark education proposal and discovered what she failed to mention in her annual budget speech:
Remember when everyone was jumping for joy over Governor Rell's education proposal...now pay attention and learn why you NEVER believe a word a politician tells you.
• When Rell introduced her massive $3.4 billion education plan, many legislators reflexively believed that all the money would be earmarked for education. But Rell's administration is seeking to repeal the law that requires towns to actually spend state education money on education. If the law is overturned, those billions of dollars in new tax money could be spent on whatever town officials want - from repairing roads to cutting property taxes.
Hope you're still paying attention...
• Rell proposed a 10 percent increase in the state income tax over two years. That increase was thought to be aimed at covering the education money that would be pouring into public schools. But a good part of the increase in the first two years would fill holes in the state budget for non-education expenses.

• Many local officials are now figuring out that their residents will be paying much more in state income taxes than the towns will get back in additional state aid. "There's the perception out there that the whole increase in the income tax is going to education," said Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which represents the cities and towns. "In reality, it's less than half [going to the towns]."

[...]

• Although the increases in education money would set a record in school funding, at the same time, Rell is seeking to cut about $60 million in other grants for cities and towns.
Are you getting the picture? Do you see why it's not the smartest thing for a city to propose a budget early? Let me spell it out for you, THE CITY'S EARLY BUDGET RELIES TO HEAVILY ON THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED BUDGET FIGURES THAT DOESN'T USE REAL MONEY. In other words, youy should wait for as long as possible in order to have a better understanding on exactly how much money Danbury is ACTUALLY going to receive from the state. When you come out with a city budget (which is heavily based on the state's budget) early, you're taking a large gamble at the city's expense.

State reps and senators from BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES are now echoing Rep. Godfrey's remarks and warning mayor's and first selectmen about spending money they think they'll receive from the state BEFORE they actually know how much they're receiving.
As the initial euphoria over Rell's plans fades, Democrats are warning towns not to count their money before they receive it.

"I've told my mayor, `Take what we gave you last year and add a dollar,'" said House Speaker James Amann, a Milford Democrat. "Don't go spending that money because it's not real money."
Can Amann give Mayor Boughton a call.

Yes, this photo is real


Time: 10:02 AM

I'll let Ken Krayeske tell the story behind this photo.

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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MIKE McLACHLAN (then MAYOR CHIEF OF STAFF) DEPOSITION

Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

(09.26.07) Press Release

(12.14.06) Complaint


Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss State Law Claims

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Defendants' Answer to Amended Complaint

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

(10.05.07 (VIDEO) Boughton mislead the public about Danbury's involvement in raid

(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

City Clerk Jean Natale standing next to skinhead sparks outrage

(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

(09/29/06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 protest news conference

(09/29/06) Immigrant newspaper "El Canillita" gives best account of ICE day labor raid at Kennedy Park


Politics_Over_People
View Boughton's campaign finance statements from 2001-present (COMING SOON)

When questioned, Boughton fails to address the issue of anti-immigrant racism in Danbury

City admits mistakes in firefighter lawsuit, taxpayers forced to pay 450K settlement, and Boughton offers no comment, no details of accountability

READ allegations of wrongdoing by Boughton filed by the plaintiffs

Boughton misleads public about World Cup games "spontaneous" celebrations for FOUR years

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MARK BOUGHTON'S TICKING TIME BOMB

DOWNLOAD AND ANALYZE MARK BOUGHTON'S ELECTION AND PAC FINANCE REPORTS

Why won't Boughton give back Galante money?

Boughton contributor goes to jail

Fairfield Weekly questions Boughton's honesty

Hatrford Courant's Stan Smith not believing Boughton

Connecting the dots

Boughton-Galante connection established


APPEAL HEARING: 10/21/14 @ 09:30 AM

Directions to Litchfield Court House

Decision Day: GUILTY!

Day Ten: Moving forward

Day Nine: DNA

Day Eight: The seven trillion dollar man

Day Seven: Jury Trial

Day Six: Motions denied

Day Five: Endless subpoenas and bizarre motions to dismiss

Day Three/Four: He's competent!

Day Two: Excuses, excuses

Day One: Strange behavior, disturbing arrest warrant affidavit

McGowan arrested, charged with first-degree sexual assault


Read the full report on
the gross incompetence of
City Clerk Jean Natale

Watch Jean Natale's misleading, questionable, and outrageous testimony in front of the charter revision commission

Natale moonlighting during City Hall business hours

Republcian Common Council member claim City Clerk of being "racially motivated" in the Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Danbury News-Times editorial criticizes City Clerk "racially motivated" involvement in Hispanic Center ad-hoc committee case

Photo of City Clerk standing next to skinhead holding anti-immigrant death threat sign

Public complains that the City Clerk is never available in her office / spends most of her time in the Registrar of Voters office

City Clerk confronts and yells at her critics at City Hall

Transcript of Minority Leader Tom Saadi criticizing Jean Natale's performance.

Freedom of Informaiton ruling on a complaint filed against Jean Natale.


Elise_Deer Highlighting the disturbing mind of a hate group leader and her xenophobic followers...

Exposing lies from Marciano regarding death threat made against yours truly

VIDEO: Marcaino shows her anti-Muslim side

I'm an AMERICAN!!!!!

MORE TO COME!!!

TOM "Big(o)T BENNETT HAS ONLY HIMSELF
TO BLAME



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Screen shot 2009-11-30 at 5.12.04 PM 2010 CTTF: Common Council debate

2010 CTFF: Funding ad hoc committee #2

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2009 CTFF: Common Council funding debate

2009 CTFF: Funding ad hoc committee meeting

OPENING NIGHT 2008

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